International Rugby

Springbok scalp a bigger accomplishment than England’s according to Townsend

Scottish coach Gregor Townsend has expressed that victory over the Springboks would be bigger than beating England this year.

Before beating England in the Six Nations earlier this year, Scotland hadn’t seen victory over them in a decade. Come Saturday they will be looking for a similar feat over the Springboks, who they have not beaten since 2010.

When asked how a victory on Saturday would rank in his 18 months as coach, Townsend responded:

“Given what South Africa have done recently, it would probably be our biggest win in the last couple of years.

“England stands out as such a memorable win. The fact they had won so many games in succession and that trophy we play for makes it even more special. But I just feel that South Africa are in the top two or three teams in the world with the way they play against the best teams in the world.

“Going to New Zealand and beating them, almost beating them a second time, showing what they were capable of last week against France as they came from behind to get a great win, that all shows they are going to be a tough team to beat.”

The coach went on to further address the physical challenge that awaits Scotland when they face the Springboks.

“It’s the No 1 physical challenge,” he explained. “We get physical challenges in the Six Nations with the likes of England and France and Ireland but any coach will tell you that the biggest physical challenge is South Africa. It always has been.

“They have evolved their game since Rassie Erasmus took over but they’ve not gone away from the forward pack. They select the biggest and strongest men they can find.”

The Scottish side to face the Boks this weekend sees six changes to the one that beat Fiji 54-17 last weekend, with five of them coming in the pack.

The side also boasts a strong South African influence, with four South Africans in their match day squad.

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